Jail Diversion Program Impact & Outcomes


Program Need

A disproportionate number of individuals in the Massachusetts criminal justice system have behavioral health disorders. Police officers often receive little training and limited resources to respond to calls involving these individuals.

45% of inmates in the county jail system have a form of mental illness.

80% have a substance use condition.

police clinicianProgram Impact

Co-Reponse programs divert individuals with a behavioral health condition 74% to 88% of the time, resulting in a total estimated cost savings of as much as $4.9 million for the state. Advocates Co-Response clinicians divert on average, 55 individuals per month from unnecessary hospital emergency room visits.

For a full look at the impact data of the Co-Response Jail Diversion Program, please download our Jail Diversion fact sheet.

Police Satisfaction

“The Framingham Police would not be able to fulfil its mission of keeping Framingham safe without the Jail Diversion Program... The ability to immediately divert low-level offenders away from arrest- and into treatment- benefits everybody.” Kenneth Ferguson, Chief of Police, Framingham Police Department

Officers cite the immediacy of the response, their familiarity with the clinicians, and the clinicians’ ability to de-escalate situations as the most important components of the JDP model.

93% of JDP Police Officers found the clinician helpful

91% of JDP Police Officers found the services helpful

Culture Change

police clinician in car

A study was conducted in Ashland, Sherborn, Holliston, and Hopkinton (ASHH) to measure the effects of the Jail Diversion program on police officer attitudes towards the mentally ill in five different categories: Compassion, Kindness, Perceived Dangerousness, Community Inclusion, and Tolerance. One of the most significant changes was in the “Compassion” category, which increased by 15% after one year of the JDP program.

Overall, the program has shown a beneficial and positive impact for police officers and by default is impacting the way they view and respond to calls for service involving individuals in a behavioral health crisis. To view more data, please download our Culture Change fact sheet.

Program Replication

As communities have recognized the need for and value of police and mental health partnerships, Advocates has replicated and adapted its successful Framingham Jail Diversion program in a number of communities. The Advocates Jail Diversion team created a step-by-step toolkit to assist communities in the process of developing and implementing their own Jail Diversion programs. The toolkit is available through our Co-Response Training and Technical Assistance Center.